Updated, Feb 25 2012
Prayer and the sacraments—Eucharist, the Mass, foremost among them—are the foundation of the Catholic disciple’s way of life. We don’t just go to church or go to Mass on Sunday or even daily. We pray the Mass. We study it, reflect on it, try to live a life that pre-disposes us to receive Holy Communion worthily. We learn about the faith to deepen our faith, to give God the worship He deserves to the best of our ability, so that, prepared by our daily spiritual life and through our worship at Mass, He can give us and we can receive the sanctifying grace necessary for our salvation.
Below are some links to help you develop this life of prayer and study and reception of grace in the sacraments. This is the heart of Catholicism, of Christianity. Without this, the rest of it has no meaning whatsoever.
Liturgical Prayer and Worship
- Mass Times: Don’t miss that Sunday or Holy Day obligation when you’re traveling! Find a Catholic Church anywhere in the world.
- New Mass Responses of the Congregation: Durable cards showing the responses from the new translation of the Roman Missal. Approved by the USCCB. We use these at the chapel at EWTN.
- Introduction to the Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form: What is the Mass? What is its role in the Economy of Salvation? Fr. Justin Nolan, FSSP, answers these questions and more in his talks. Download the audio. Posts about the workshop: Intro. Graphics by me for listeners to the audio.
- Sancta Missa: Online tutorials about the Mass in the Extraordinary Form (which happens to be an extraordinarily beautiful form, let me tell you). Tutorials, PDF’s, videos, online store and more. And it’s a pretty site too! Below is a sample of what you’ll find there.
- iPadre.net: Website of Fr. Jay Finelli. Lots of podcasts about the Church. From his About Page: “Pope John Paul II said that we are in need of a new evangelization. Podcasting is a small part of this new work of evangelization. All of us need to do our part in spreading the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
- ChantCast: Fr. Jay Finelli talks you through the Latin responses for Holy Mass. Helpful!! Subscribe to feed. Subscribe in iTunes. Listen online at site. (Click on titles to go to individual podcast episode pages, then scroll down for player.) Listen at Disciples With Microphones. (Gotta love that name!)
- Universalis: Pray the Divine Office with online help from Universalis. Also available for WAP phones, by email, and by web feed for syndication.
- The School of Prayer: An Introduction to the Divine Office for All Christians, John Brook. An excellent introduction to the prayer of Holy Mother Church. Includes a commentary on the four-week psalter (the arrangement of the psalms in a four-week cycle). A marvelous way to develop your prayer life. Much food for meditation and prayer is to be found in the inspired poetry of the psalms.
- Catholic Calendar Page: Gives the day in the liturgical cycle, Mass readings, and Rosary.
- Calendar page at Women for Faith and Family
Daily Prayer: Practices and Helps
- Basic Catholic Prayers listed at EWTN.
- Basic Catholic Prayers at Catholic Answers.
- Apostleship of Prayer. A traditional practice of the faithful is to consecrate one’s daily life to Christ upon rising in the morning. Try it for a while and see the difference it will make in your life.
- Basic Daily Catholic Prayers: These are the same basic prayers you’ll find on many sites but the page is attractive and clean and looks like it would print out well. Be sure, whichever of these pages you use, that you develop the practice of Grace Before Meals, if you haven’t already. Oh, yeah. Even in restaurants. Especially in restaurants. We are to be witnesses. Light for the world. Salt of the earth. So be brave, be bold, make the Sign of the Cross and say that blessing!
- Also see the Rosary and the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy below. These are two major Catholic prayer practices that many non-Catholics have also adopted.
- Novenas to Various Saints
The Rosary and the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy
After the Mass itself and the Divine Office, there are many forms of prayer and devotion beloved by Catholics around the world. Two of the most popular forms are the Rosary and the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy.
- Pray the Rosary, Expanded Edition, with Scriptural Meditations. This is an excellent little booklet that will fit easily into your purse or laptop bag. Contains images and meditation helps: a shorter version and a longer version with Scriptural readings for each of the 15 traditional mysteries and the 5 mysteries suggested by Pope John Paul II. A wonderful way to learn to pray and meditate on the Gospel story every day.
- The Confraternity of the Most Holy Rosary: Enroll in the Confraternity and pray the Rosary weekly with the faithful all over the world. There is no cost to enroll and the benefits are priceless. The The Rosary Light and Life Newsletter is sent out six times a year and is also available on the web. I’ve been getting these in the mail for a while but lately I’ve begun to download them to have them all at my fingertips in my database application.
- Divine Mercy in my Soul, Saint Faustina. See the below for more about this beautiful devotion. And visit the Divine Mercy website.
Devotion to Christ as The Divine Mercy
[In the 1930’s St. Faustina, a humble, simple, uneducated Polish nun] received extraordinary revelations or messages from Our Lord Jesus. Jesus asked Sr. Faustina to record these experiences, which she compiled in notebooks. These notebooks are known today as the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska and the words contained within are God’s loving message of Divine Mercy.
Though the Divine Mercy message is not new to the teachings of the Church, Sr. Faustina’s Diary sparked a great movement, and a strong and significant focus on the mercy of Christ. Pope John Paul II canonized Sr. Faustina in 2000 making her the “first saint of the new millennium.” Speaking of Sr. Faustina and the importance of the message contained in her Diary, the Pope call her “the great apostle of Divine Mercy in our time.”
Through St. Faustina, the Merciful Savior has given the aching world new channels for the outpouring of His grace. These new channels include the Image of The Divine Mercy, the Feast of Mercy (Divine Mercy Sunday), the Chaplet, the Novena to The Divine Mercy, and prayer at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, the Hour of Great Mercy.
Although these means of receiving God’s mercy are new in form, they all proclaim the timeless message of God’s merciful love. They also draw us back to the great Sacrament of Mercy, the Holy Eucharist, where the living Lord, who suffered and died on the Cross and whose Heart was pierced with a lance, pours forth His mercy on all mankind, and grants pardon to all who draw near and honor Him. As Jesus told St. Faustina:
My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, and especially for poor sinners…[I]t is for them that the Blood and Water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy. For them I dwell in the tabernacle as King of Mercy. (Diary, 367)
Pope John Paul II signed “a special Papal Blessing for those who pray the Chaplet for an end to abortion. The blessing, signed on the Feast of the Annunciation, March 25, 2003, is addressed to the Eucharistic Apostles of the Divine Mercy and to “all the faithful worldwide who join them in offering the Divine Mercy Chaplet…” (See the Pope’s intentions for the Chaplet listed below.)
The Pope’s intentions for the recitation of the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy for the end of abortion and the culture of death:
- for mothers, that they not abort their offspring;
- for infants in danger of being put to death in the womb;
- for a change of heart of providers of abortions and of their collaborators;
- for human victims of stem cell research, genetic manipulation, cloning and euthanasia;
- and for all entrusted with the government of peoples, that they may promote the Culture of Life, so as to put an end to the culture of death.